Stunning photo series featuring people with albinism puts the spotlight on their beautiful and unique features

  • Angelina d’Auguste, a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, created the photo project for her final thesis
  • She aimed to give readers a look into what it's like to live with the condition, which occurs in one in 18,000 to 20,000 people in America

A photographer has created an image series exclusively featuring people who have albinism to show off the rare condition in a totally new light.

Angelina d’Auguste chose to photograph people with the condition after being drawn to images of Shaun Ross, an American model with albinism, and from there delved deeper into learning about the condition, which occurs in one in 18,000 to 20,000 people in America.

The resulting series, which made up Angelina's senior thesis project at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, was made to show the models' 'distinct, beautiful features in a positive way,' she told Refinery29.

Unique beauty: A new series by photographer Angelina d’Auguste (not pictured) sees people with albinism posing in ways that highlight their distinctive features

Unique beauty: A new series by photographer Angelina d’Auguste (not pictured) sees people with albinism posing in ways that highlight their distinctive features

Inspired: The photographer was motivated to learn more about the genetic condition after being taken by photos of a male model with albinism

Inspired: The photographer was motivated to learn more about the genetic condition after being taken by photos of a male model with albinism

'Most people have never interacted with anyone with albinism,' she added. 'Unfortunately, it is difficult for [people with albinism] to fit in society.'

The genetic condition, which affects all races and ethnicities, is marked by a lack of melanin production in hair, skin, and eyes. This leaves the person with vision impairment and a difference in skin and hair color, which can vary from bright white to yellow to brown.

After deciding on the subject of her thesis, Angelina went about finding subjects to photograph - and found it surprisingly easy. 

Non-discriminatory: Albinism effects one in 18,000 to 20,000 people born in America and can appear across all races and ethnicities

Non-discriminatory: Albinism effects one in 18,000 to 20,000 people born in America and can appear across all races and ethnicities

Across the board: The photo series features subjects of all ages - some of whom are related
Across the board: The photo series features subjects of all ages - some of whom are related

Across the board: The photo series features subjects of all ages - some of whom are related

Keeping it light: The stunning photos were mostly shot with light pastel clothing and backgrounds to compliment the pale complexions of the subjects

Keeping it light: The stunning photos were mostly shot with light pastel clothing and backgrounds to compliment the pale complexions of the subjects

'Once I photographed one subject, that led to another, because they would recommend me to other friends or families [with] albinism, which is very common,' she said. 

'For instance, four of the people I photographed are all related, each parent having albinism and carrying the gene down to their two children.'

The stunning photos, mostly shot with the subjects in light pastel colors to compliment their skin tones, include people of all ages and races, mostly in comfortable home settings such as in beds, in doorways and in front of floral wallpapered walls.  

Linked together: The photographer found that it was surprisingly easy to find subjects as members of the community would recommend others to contact
Linked together: The photographer found that it was surprisingly easy to find subjects as members of the community would recommend others to contact

Linked together: The photographer found that it was surprisingly easy to find subjects as members of the community would recommend others to contact 

Being you: All of the subjects in the project 'embrace' their albanism, but also opened up about other challenges that they face

Being you: All of the subjects in the project 'embrace' their albanism, but also opened up about other challenges that they face

Light in sight: Typically, those who have albanism have impaired vision, which has left many of them without the ability to drive

Light in sight: Typically, those who have albanism have impaired vision, which has left many of them without the ability to drive

Beyond disability: Some of the subjects reported that, though they were teased as children, their differences became less of a subject of bullying as they got older

Beyond disability: Some of the subjects reported that, though they were teased as children, their differences became less of a subject of bullying as they got older

For the participants in Angelina's project, the condition is something they all 'embraced', but is also something that causes them daily challenges, many of which they spoke about as a part of the project.

One of the biggest hurdles is vision impairment, which has left some of the models unable to drive and therefore entirely reliant on public transport. Many also suffer from nystagmus, a type of involuntary eye movement that sees the eyes dart from side to side. 

But when it came to the social issues surrounding the condition - and how their appearance to others affects their daily life - the opinions were varied.  

In the way: One woman told the photographer that she thought her albanism kept her from being who she wanted to be because others were focused on her appearance

In the way: One woman told the photographer that she thought her albanism kept her from being who she wanted to be because others were focused on her appearance

Different view: Alternatively, one of the subjects 'considers himself just a regular guy who just happens to be a little more fair-skinned'

Different view: Alternatively, one of the subjects 'considers himself just a regular guy who just happens to be a little more fair-skinned'

Some considered their appearance to be something that interferes with them being themselves and presenting themselves to others, with several of the women in the project expressing hesitation over posing without make-up.

One subject was dismissive of idea that he was particularly different from others, telling Angelina that: 'He considers himself just a regular guy who just happens to be a little more fair-skinned.'

Another woman said that the condition helped her become an outgoing person as the teasing she experienced as a child became less common as an adult - 'Being different in society becomes a cool thing when you grow up,' she said.  

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Angelina d’Auguste's photo series features people with albinism

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